Your homeowners insurance agent should be able to do what is called a rider for all the stuff in question. If not, find another company. Read the documents well. Go for a stated value. Remember to update the stated value periodically.
If you collect vinyl you may need to have your collection appraised for the rider feature. Keep meticulous records, scan them, burn to a disc and place in your safety deposit box.
It's adviseable to catalog your music collection which may take a lot of time. It's well worth the peace of mind.
I did my research and have my hotrod (3 appraisals) insured for a stated value as well as my vinyl (2 appraisals) and an older guitar (2 appraisals). All the appraisals were from professionals and cost me to have it done.
Take lots of photos. Even with all the above expect your insurance company to try and minimize their losses if anything happens. Be prepared for legal war and you'll win.
A rider policy sounds correct. When not using my system, it remains unplugged from the A/C. Less trouble than repair.
Just The Facts
I used a close up lens on my 35 MM camera and photographed the edges of my entire LP collection. 4X6 drug store prints and the original negatives are at the bank. This is an easy way to record every album without having to manually enter them into a ledger.
Keep your photos in a safe deposit box along with your families passports, Social Security and birth certificates, credit card records, handgun records, jewelry records, insurance documents and back up files for your computers.
I have as much concern with loss from severe weather and fire as theft. Try to Imagine standing in front of a pile of rubble where your home once stood and trying to recall everything that was inside before that moment.
A safe deposit box typically costs less than $30.00 a year. Hopefully you will never need to empty out its contents to prove what you lost. Take lots of photographs, they are cheap to produce and priceless if catastrophe strikes.
the photos would validate the existance of a lp cover (condition/value unknown)
on an insurance claim without an appraised validation of the vinyl condition how could an accurate claim be submitted? kurt
I really learned a lot about insurance while I was trying to insure my hotrod for something resembling my investment. Just because you have "replacement" value type homeowners insurance does not mean a check will be written for the full value of a loss. Quite the contrary. Your XYZ component that cost $30k new will be treated like your car with a similar new cost. The item will be depreciated and your deductible will apply unless you have the rider. The appraisals are necessary and some agents will not even tell you this. You may find out too late that you should have gotten an appraisal.
You can get a stated value rider on just about anything but without the appraisal(s), a claim will be viewed as an attempt to committ fraud leading you to be treated most unkindly. Collections that are outside of a classification of "usual" are supposed to carry the burden of their own coverage.
There aren't many insurance agents that have even written such a policy. The burden falls on you, the consumer, to sort through the options and make sure you are actually getting what you may pay for. It's a real pain. I did my best to cover my ASSetts but pray that my homework is never put to the test.
This is an excellent post and I hope members are reading this thread. A fair amount of work now may save a lot of grief later.
As cheap as high resolution digital cameras are and given the small amount of hard drive space it takes to store them it's a no-brainer about what to do. Photograph every wall, inside every closet and drawer, EVERYTHING and burn them to disc. Put a copy in your safe deposit box and give additional copies to your kids or a trusted friend. An ounce of prevention.....
So here is my question... how do you appraise the value of something that essentially has no market (like master tapes)?
Try Antiques Road Show? LOL, just kidding. I'm not qualified to answer Slartibartfast's above post. But it would seem that there are appraisers out there who specialize in priceless prices. E.g., paintings, letters, manuscripts, rare books, etc. Why would master tapes be any different? Or even Lugnut's vinyl collection? If someone can insure a painting for several million US dollars, surely someone can appraise and insure rare vinyl?
Rcreations, in answer to your question, I don't know. I have never had a claim and hope I never do. My State Farm Insurance agent suggested photos, and said they accepted them as good proof of contents of your home.
I did as Lugnut suggested and photographed everything in our home. My agent even suggested that video tape would be valid.
As for value, those who take 15 minutes to photograph their inventory stand a much better chance of receiving a fair settlement than those who have nothing. Many of us have grand schemes to inventory and list all our valuables but never seem to get around to it. With a library of several thousand pieces of software it is a daunting job.
I think the point is that presented with clear evidence of ownership, a market value could be settled upon between the insured and the insurance company.
Where a complete inventory and appraisal is preferred, those who inventory with photography right now are better off until (and if) they go a more professional route.
If you have a home owner's policy with replacement cost coverage your audio equipment is covered. That means if you have an amp that is made by Classe that is no longer in production your insurance company will pay for the equivalent current model. I have discussed this with my insurance agent (USAA). There are some items that do require a rider such as guns and jewelry in excess of $1000, but only if they are stolen, not lost in a fire or other natural disaster. This does not apply to audio equipment or even art work. Naturally you will have to pay the deductible (usually $500) and will need to prove what you owned. Pictures or videos are great and I even have a spread sheet with all items and serial numbers where applicable. Records could be tricky if they are collectible and out of print, but their value can be established. You should not have to pay for a rider and if your insurance agent says you do I'd talk to some different companies to see if you can get a better deal.
Rcreations, (and Lugnut) when I stated I had not had a claim and hoped I never would, I was referring to the equipment making up my music system and software.
For those who have not followed my posts about reconstruction of my home during the last 8 months, THAT was due to water damage that State Farm covered.
I still hope I never need to claim anything to do with my music.
Having been on the adjusting side of things for a number of years, I was never out to cheat anybody, only to pay what was owed. That having been said, I can't speak for other companies but policies with replacement clauses were exactly that. If I was trying to adjust Albert's SoundLAB U-1s and I was unable to locate a pair on the used market for comparison, I would be calling SoundLAB direct and trying to cut a deal for a new pair. But I would be making sure that he would be able to replace those speakers (less deductible) Most adjusters that I know aren't out to rip anybody, I however can not say that about the people submitting claims. I think the best thing anybody can do is to video tape your entire house. This allows you to not only have a record but to describe the items as well. Obviously, if you have items that are one of a kind or collector items, get a professional appraisal, and two are better. Every time I got a claim with an appraisal, I simply verified the appraisal and cut the draft.
Fortunately, I do not do homeowner claims any longer.
standard homeowners policies cover audio gear without special riders or $ limitations. you will be paid the actual cash value (usually cost less depreciation calculated by using a table unless you can substantiate another value) less your deductible.
the next level is to buy replacement cost coverage which has been discussed by tswitsel and t
thomas. both are correct - that a company will pay you to replace the damaged item with like kind and quality. HOWEVER, many if not most companies, will only pay replacement cost if you in fact replace it. they won't pay you the value of the replacement until you do replace it. they will typically adjust your claim on an ACV (1st paragraph) and when you actually replace it they will pay you the difference.
as indicated documentation is essential to having a smooth ride, receipts, photos etc. make the adjusters job simple as possible, they will love you for it.
mt thomas, i think claims adjusting is making a cynic of you! i found most people making claims are basically honest but misinformed - you get paid to inform them, hopefully without offending them. its this last trick that give's the industry a bad eye. hope they didn't promote you into auto claims adjusting - that would really make a cynic of you.
Newbee, You may be right. Having spent a fair amount of time in the litigation end, (only as adjuster/investigator for defense attorneys)and having spent the majority of my time doing liability/injury claims for both homeowners and auto I probably dealt with a lot of the worst offenders. By the way our won/lost record on those cases that went the distance was about 95% in our favor. People making property only claims usually just want to be compensated for what is owed them. I also reviewed problem files for other adjusters. All the same I think everybody should do photo documentation. By the way I recently left the business to pursue other avenues.
Tthomas, leaving the industry early was probably a good move. i don't know of many really old adjusters. alcohol or heart attacks takes a big toll as well as burn out. too bad as its really a great profession which allow you to learn so much about so many things. i actually loved it for that (i handled major litigation for a large multi national carrier)but its a crappy job for those not predisposed. good luck. by the way i enjoy your posts - very level headed stuff.
Thanks for all the good posts I need to get a digital camera or video camera and go to work. I was wondering what I could expect to pay for a appraisal is it a % of the cost of the eq. ? I also have a lot of records do I make a list to give to a appraiser as this would be the hard part to replace I guess this would be where a rider comes in? thanks again to all Marc